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“The Man Without Fear” will be coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Netflix gave a second chance to the popular superhero. Daredevil has been a long appreciated hero in the comics, but his live-action appearances have left a lot to be desired. Here is some beginner’s facts to understanding why Daredevil has lasted so long for comic lovers.
1. Matt Murdock first appeared in Daredevil #1 in April 1964. He was created by Stan Lee (writer) and Bill Everett (artist) with help from the legendary Jack Kirby.
2. His original origin was that he was the son of a famous boxer, “Battlin” Jack Murdock. Growing up on the poor side of Hell’s Kitchen and his dad provided him with a work hard attitude to get out of the gutter. Matt’s dad found himself working with a local mobster to make ends meet.
3. Matt gained his powers when he pushed a man out of the way of an upcoming truck. The truck swerved to avoid hitting Matt. The truck was transporting radioactive waste, a common occurrence in the 60’s, and splashed on Matt, blinding him. While his vision was taken from him, his other sense went into overdrive and gave Matt a “radar” sense. The best way to think about it is like echolocation. This hearing power enables him to track and hear for extremely long distance but is also weak to extreme sounds, leaving Matt disoriented.
4. Since every superhero origin needs tragedy, Matt’s occurred when his father refused to throw a fight after enjoying a string of success in the ring. Pissing off the wrong people, Jack was murdered after the match while on his way home. Unlike the movie, however, it wasn’t the Kingpin who did the killing.
5. Matt donned the Daredevil persona to avenge his father’s death. While known to modern audiences for the full red suit he wears, Daredevil’s first costume was yellow and black. He put it together using his father’s boxing robes.
6. In his personal like, Matt Murdock is a lawyer with his college roommate and best friend Franklin “Foggy” Nelson. After they graduated, they both started up their own law firm, Murdock and Nelson.
7. The early days of the Daredevil comic was traditional superhero stuff, Daredevil would be given a villain-of-the-week and he would stop them. He fought against such epic foes like Stilt-Man and The Enforcers (a group of mob enforcers, one carries a whip). The Daredevil of this era was much more fun with a similar tone to Spider-Man. Matt was jovial and joked around. The serious, dark, and brooding Daredevil of modern times would come later with a new writer.
8. When Frank Miller was given the keys to Daredevil, he reinvented the character. He kept the backstory the same but added a mentor to Matt’s history by the name of Stick. Stick trained Matt with ninja techniques and helped him to explore his newly found powers. Other changes made by Miller was to have Matt’s dad be a drunk and abusive father, spurring Matt’s desire to become a lawyer. Miller also gave Daredevil a nemesis in the form of the Kingpin.
9. The Kingpin was the crime kingpin of New York and up to this point primarily used in Spider-Man comics. Miller gave him a harsher and darker tone and made Daredevil his primary arch-rival.
10. Kingpin hired two assassins to help take out Daredevil. The first was Bullseye, a psychotic marksman, and the second was Elektra, a ninja working with a ninja organization of The Hand. Elektra would eventually stop trying to kill Daredevil when she found out he was Matt Murdock.
11. The romance between Elektra and Matt is the stuff of comic legends all culminating in a duel between Elektra and Bullseyes for the crown of being Kingpin’s top assassin. The fight ended with the now iconic show of Bullseye stabbing Elektra through the heart with her own sai. Before she died, she managed to get to Matt’s doorstep, dying in his arms. Enraged by the death of his love, Daredevil lashed out and refused to save Bullseye from a fall.
12. This darker take on Daredevil remained the tone of the character for the decades to come. Miller remained one of the most popular writers to take on the character until Brian Michael Bendis took over the 2000’s. He and artist Alex Maleev launched a campaign of destruction of Matt’s personal life, coming to a head when Kingpin revealed Daredevil’s secret identity to the FBI. In the end, Matt allows himself to be arrested and is taken to prison.
13. Escaping with the help of the Punisher, who put himself inside along with Matt to observe, and having his named cleared by Dan Rand (aka Iron Fist) masquerading as Daredevil while Matt was in prison, Matt is currently back in his red suit and back to work on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen.
14. A notable characteristic of Matt’s personality is his womanizing. He has a long history with many of Marvel’s notable female heroes including the Black Widow. One of his other romances has been with his secretary Karen Page, who was eventually killed off by Kevin Smith in the miniseries Guardian Devil.
15. Daredevil’s early fighting style was based on gymnastics and boxing until Miller rewrote Stick as Matt’s trainer. Daredevil’s abilities took on the form of ninjitsu after this with his primary weapon being a billy club that Matt can he can throw and rebound with expert precision and use as a walking cane while in civilian disguise.